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The continence paradigm

Before any continence intervention, it’s essential that the purpose is thoroughly considered. Prof Jo Booth talks you through the continence paradigm.

As a health professional, before you think about any continence intervention (whether treatment or containment), it’s essential that you consider the purpose of what it is you’re trying to do.

What are you trying to achieve with this person? What is the paradigm of continence that you’re working with?

In this video, Professor Jo Booth talks you through her adaptation of the Continence Paradigm[1] where she has overlaid three models of healthcare:

  1. The social model

  2. The medical model

  3. The rehabilitation model

The diagram of the ‘Continence paradigm’ is available to download in PDF format from the ‘Downloads’ section towards the bottom of this page.

Your task

Consider your own practice. Where does your practice ‘sit’ in the continence paradigm?

Are you more focused on managing INcontinence or do you put your efforts in to helping a person to regain control of their bladder and / or their bowel? This would be promoting CONtinence.

Share your experience with fellow learners.

Don’t forget to capture your thinking in your learning log or portfolio by adding specific examples of what you do to manage INcontinence or promote CONtinence.


1. Fonda D, Abrams P. Cure sometimes, help always – a ‘continence paradigm’ for all ages and conditions. Neurology and Urodynamics 2006; 25:290-292. [Cited 26 July 2018] Available from:

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Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

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